Researcher, Nature Specialist, Chairperson
Friends of Socotra
Dr Kay Van Damme

Dr Kay Van Damme is a zoologist and conservationist with a focus on biodiversity research in arid and tropical areas. He has been involved in research and biodiversity conservation in the Socotra Archipelago UNESCO World Heritage Site (Yemen) since 1999, where he helps coordinate the conservation and replantation of endangered Boswellia trees and coordinates conservation of freshwater fauna. Dr Van Damme is the Chairperson of the Friends of Socotra charity and a committee member of the IUCN Freshwater Conservation Committee. He has also coordinated large- scale awareness campaigns for the importance of biodiversity in Socotra in cooperation with UNESCO. Dr Van Damme's current research mainly focuses on freshwater biodiversity, climate resilience, protected areas and endangered tree conservation in Socotra in close collaboration with international conservation organisations, local researchers, and authorities. He is also involved in research on general conservation, raising awareness, and habitat restoration for the region's endemic trees, which are important for local communities and their cultural identity. Dr Van Damme is committed to enhancing protection of species and human livelihoods, working with local communities, co-learning on sustainable resource use and climate resilience. He has authored over 80 scientific publications and books and is a scientific researcher and natural heritage consultant.